Pork Producers Advised to Get Vaccinated Against Seasonal Flu

CANADA - The Canadian Swine Health Board is once again encouraging pork producers to protect themselves and their swine herds by being vaccinated against seasonal influenza, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 20 January 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

Influenza is a virus of the upper respiratory tract.

Certain strains will infect people, others will infect animals and in some cases strains will infect both animals and people.

Dr Dan Hurnik, the chair of the Canadian Swine Health Board's Long Term Disease Risk Management Committee and a member of the faculty of the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island, notes the spread of the virus in people tends to increase seasonally as the weather turns colder.

Dan Hurnik-Canadian Swine Health Board

The recommendations from Public Health Canada as well as many other international organizations is, in order to protect ourselves as people from influenza, there are vaccines which are targeting the strains that circulate every season and by getting a regular vaccination ahead of the flu season then people are less likely to be sick, they're more productive, less likely to miss work and less likely to shed the virus.

In the cases where there is a strain that's common to animals and people it will also help protect the pigs from being exposed to those strains.

We're seeing the regular pattern in animals.

There is flu that circulates in animals and we're seeing another pattern in people.

In previous years, 2009 for example, there were reports of influenza being shared between people and pigs.

We're not having any reports of that this year but it is flu season and people are being infected and it's circulating among people.

There's always a risk of it spreading to pigs and so it makes sense for people to protect themselves and protect their pig herds by regular flu vaccination.

Dr Hurnik notes flu vaccination is available in a number of locations and he encourages anyone with questions about the safety or effectiveness of these vaccines to consult with their family physicians.

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